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Obituary for Hugh Winfred McGraw

Hugh W. McGraw
February 20, 1931 – May 28, 2017
Having lived the fullest of lives, characterized by selfless compassion and unbridled caring for his family and friends, Hugh W. McGraw entered his heavenly home on Sunday, May 28, 2017, awash in the love of family members amazed by the grace, courage and dignity of his departure, symbolic of how he lived his life. His enduring gift to his family and the world was that of a kind, wise, vibrant, patient and generous man who was always able to think and act outside of himself.
He was born in Central Hatchee, GA to John Wesley McGraw, a railroad worker, and Lillie Ashley, who worked as a seamstress at the Sewell Manufacturing Company. When he was about three months old, his family moved to Villa Rica, Georgia, where he lived to the age of 12. At that time the family moved to Bremen, Georgia, where he has lived for the past 74 years. In adulthood he pursued a career in business in Bremen, managing a clothing manufacturing plant. He leaves his two children, Ressa Duke of Conover, NC and Paula (Scott) Hannah of Franklin, GA. Hugh also leaves five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Hugh touched many lives during his 86 years with us on earth. He will be remembered for his selfless compassion, patience, gentle spirit, and for his intense love of his family. – The family feels blessed and thankful for every moment that they had with him. His grandchildren are thankful to have had “Papa’s/Poppie’s” unconditional love and support in their lives, as he nurtured them and took great pride in watching each of them mature to adulthood. He made a difference in our lives and that of many others he touched. He will continue to inspire us for the rest of our lives.
Hugh held many life accomplishments. In addition to his leadership in the Sacred Harp community, Hugh was a Sacred Harp composer, several of whose songs appear in the 1960 and subsequent editions of The Sacred Harp. An inspiration for the revisions of the Sacred Harp songbook, founded the National Sacred Harp Convention (1980), 1982 NEA National Heritage Fellow, an actor in the movies, The Long Riders (1980), and Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp (2006), Lawless (2012), 32nd degree Free Mason, with membership in Bremen, GA and a 32nd degree Shriner in Atlanta, GA. These are just a few of the many awards and accolades that Hugh accumulated over the course of his lifetime.
Anyone that knew Hugh would tell you he was passionate about two things in life: Sacred Harp Singing and spending time with family. Hugh was considered the greatest Sacred Harp singer of the last and present century. Many deemed him as “Mr. Sacred Harp”. Hugh played a crucial role in the revitalization and spread of Sacred Harp singing in the late twentieth century. He will be chiefly remembered, however, for his long service with The Sacred Harp Publishing Company, Inc. as executive secretary from 1958 – 2002, his leadership role over The Sacred Harp revision of 1960, 1966, 1971 and 1991, the catalyst that brought African American, Native American and other shaped note tune books together and for his leadership in bringing thousands of newcomer singers, including those outside the South, into the tradition while helping to establish singing and conventions in many states.
There wasn't a Sacred Harp singing he didn't enjoy traveling to and made it a priority to always be attending one! Hugh tried to never miss a singing at Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church! When asked if he wanted to go home, his reply and final words were, "I want to go to Holly Springs."
The family will receive visitors on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 from 5 to 8 PM with a visitation at Hightower Funeral Home, 318 Gordon Street, Bremen, GA. Services will be held on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church, Holly Springs Rd (near I-20 x US Hwy 27),Bremen, GA. Sacred Harp singers to start at 2 PM.
To send flowers or a memorial contribution can be made to Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church, 5089 Mt. Zion Road, Waco, GA 30182.
The family wishes to thank the staff at West Georgia Hospice for their loving care for Hugh.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

31

May

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Hightower Funeral Home

318 Gordon Street
Bremen, GA 30110

Service

Thursday

1

Jun

2:00 PM
Holly Spring Primitive Baptist Church

Holly Springs Road
Bremen, Georgia 30110

Cemetery Details

Location

Forest Lawn Memorial Park

946 Waddell Street
Bremen, GA 30110

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